Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of the SPP network? 

The SPP network is a platform for the exchange of ideas and knowledge around how as individuals we can move towards a more sustainable photobook publishing practice. There are many different types of books and reasons for making them, as well as economic, social and geographic constraints to consider. We believe that we need to collectively develop responsible publishing practices that consider sustainability at each step of the design, production and distribution process. Each of us have developed skills and expertise related to our own experiences and practice, whether that be zines, handmade books, offset printing, paper making, risograph printing etc. As a community, the network can connect all of these different practitioners together and provide a safe space to support each other in a fruitful exchange of ideas and knowledge.

More about our mission, values and contributors can be found here.

How can I get involved?

We are an informal network and rely on people to share their ideas, knowledge and challenges both within and outside of the network. This could be by sharing details about a new paper you’ve discovered, submitting a case study feature, recommending a speaker, joining a session and sharing a question you are struggling to answer, or perhaps sharing the word about the work that the network is doing with those who might find it useful.

How can I get more involved?

We are always open to ideas about how the network can grow and better serve its purpose. If you have an idea and would like to work with SPP to create a new initiative or engagement activity we’d love to hear from you. We also have a wish list of initiatives that we would love to begin, but don’t have the funds, time or expertise to develop. Our current wish list is below. If you’d be interested in working with us on one of these initiatives then please do get in touch.

Website - we would love to create a standalone website for the SPP that is SEARCHABLE! Yes that’s right. As the amount of information we are sharing increases we know that it’s becoming harder and harder to find what individuals might be looking for. 

Community Platform - we would love to better connect the network together to facilitate person to person exchanges. For this to work we need someone to build the platform and look after it and to help connect people together to facilitate discussions.

Comparing types of printing - One of the top questions that we get asked is ‘is digital or offset printing more sustainable’. This is a complex question, with many varying factors. This is an urgent research area that would benefit from focused attention and engagement with the printing community. 

I don’t know where to start with making a book sustainably, is there an SPP guide? 

We don’t currently have a guide for sustainable photobook publishing. We are developing a series of questions that we think will help book makers to think through sustainability at each step of the design and production process, Which Question(s) are relevant for your photobook? The CASE STUDIES might also be helpful as these share experiences of how other people have thought through various aspects of  sustainability as it relates to their books. 

There is a collated list of guides/ tips by others at the bottom of the RESOURCE LIST under ‘external links’. If you are new to book making then you might find A SERIES OF PROMPTS and PUBLISH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK WORKBOOK particularly useful in defining why you are making a book, who it is for and what kind of book would be appropriate. These are important considerations in answering the question’ Is a Book Worth a Tree?’ (Coined by Delphine Bedel).

Can I get in touch with specific questions? 

Yes absolutely, you can currently get in touch via Instagram or email, or by joining an open SESSION. We aren't experts in sustainability or publishing, but if we can't directly answer your question, then we can help signpost information or people who might be able to help you to find the answers.

The resource list is focused on the UK, do you have a resource list for [enter name of country]? 

The network has grown organically from its origin in London, UK. The practical resources are therefore focused on this local area. If you are based outside of the UK then you might find the CASE STUDIES or TALK RECORDINGS helpful as these are international and have lots of information about making books in different locations, from materials and processes to specific geographic issues.

If you would like to start a resource list in another geographic area and would like support or tips, please do get in touch. Or if you have already created a method of sharing this knowledge within a local community we’d love to hear from you and to help share the word.

Dear SPP network, I have sent an email but haven’t had a reply, is anyone there? 

Yes, we aim to respond to every email that we receive. Please bear in mind that the network is run by Tamsin on a voluntary basis (supported on individual initiatives by lots of other people within the network), sometimes she will not be able to respond as quickly as she would like to. If you haven’t had a reply for a couple of weeks after sending an email then please do follow-up.

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